500mm wide

  1. 1268

    500 x 540 mm

    Description: Quasi-arched shape with forward-facing 'wings', which splay outwards towards the base; the 'wings' curve to follow the shape of the main panel but curl outwards at the top; central panel with stylised image of a tree; top centre, three ostrich feathers gathered at their quills, on either side of which, on the curled upper parts of the 'wings', are a mirrored feature of uncertain type.

    Notes: This small, but unusual, casting was probably cast in an open box mould. Only a very small number of such castings are known. Depth 210mm. The fireback has been repaired in the main panel and attached to a later grate.

    Manufactured: in the late 17th to early 18th century in England.

    Current location: Bramshill House, Bramshill, Hampshire, England.

  2. 896

    500 x 600 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shape; no edging; three 'daisy' flowerheads, top centre and in each shoulder; central plume of six ostrich feathers issuing from what appears to be a wreath surmounting a tree stump.

    Notes: Excavated from the ruins of Cloughoughter Castle in County Cavan, which had been rendered uninhabitable in a siege of 1653. Until the early 16th century the castle had been in the hands of the O'Reilly family. On some versions of the O'Reilly arms the crest is shown as a plume of ostrich feathers, although this may be a misrepresentation of the usual crest of a tree with a snake entwined about it.

    Manufactured: in the early 17th century in Ireland.

    Current location: Parke's Castle, Fivemile Bourne, Co. Leitrim, Ireland.

    (part of the Heritage Ireland museum group)

  3. 1215

    500 x 590 mm

    Description: Rectangular shape; no edging; shield of the 2nd Duke of Montagu surrounded by the Garter and surmounted by a ducal coronet.

    Notes: One of four firebacks at Boughton House, Northamptonshire, cast with the ducal arms and the Garter having a diameter of 31cm. Fifty firebacks were cast for the house between 1743 and 1748 by Richard Ford, probably at Nibthwaite Furnace, but also possibly at Newland furnace, both then in north Lancashire. The arms are blazoned: Quarterly, 1st & 4th: Argent, three fusils conjoined in fess gules, a bordure sable (Montagu); 2nd & 3rd: Or an eagle displayed vert beaked and membered gules (Monthermer); on an escutcheon of pretence, Sable a lion rampant Argent a canton Argent charged with a cross Gules (Churchill); John, 2nd Duke of Montagu married Mary, daughter and co-heiress of John, 1st Duke of Marlborough.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: HONI.SOIT.QUI.MAL.Y.PENSE

    Arms: Montagu quartering Monthermer with Churchill in an escutcheon of pretence - John Montagu, 2nd Duke of Montagu, KG

    Manufactured: in the mid 18th century probably at Newland Furnace in the Furness area of England.

    Current location: Boughton House, Geddington, Northamptonshire, England.

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., Spring 2022, 'The Boughton House Firebacks', Base Thoughts, Newsletter of the Antique Metalware Society, pp. 10-11.

  4. 378

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 013.jpg
    >500 x 700 mm

    Description: Fragment (left end only); prob. rectangular; twisted rope edging; slightly angled stamp formed of the end of a firedog with semi-circular feet, and shields at the base and top of the pilaster; V-shaped arrangement of a length of twisted rope stamped twice, the point touching the left edge of the plate and one end touching the top.

    Notes: Likely to have been a triple arrangement of firedog impressions.

    Manufactured: in the mid to late 16th century in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Anne of Cleves House, Southover High Street, Lewes, East Sussex, England.

    Museum number: LH000.911 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

    Citation: Schubert, H. R., 1957, History of the British Iron and Steel Industry (London, Routledge), pp. 256-264.

  5. 668

    rottingdean_grange 01.jpg
    500 x 540 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shape with symmetrical floral scrolls on top; three horizontal plank lines; ovolo moulding all round edge of main panel; central figure of a bearded man wearing knee-length coat, belted at waist, and holding a sledge hammer in his right hand, his left arm akimbo; various ‘tools’ of his trade arranged about him; (clockwise from top left) a circular cartouche with a central bead; the date split on either side of his head; a floral console supporting a shelf bearing a flagon, a tankard and a goblet; a circular cartouche with a central bead, a mirrored image of the one in the top left corner; from the top of the cartouche a dog leaping up at its master; between the man’s legs a long-handled ladle, a weight and a cooking pot; a ringer, used to pull slag off molten iron; part of the elevation of a blast furnace, with wooden framework, casting house, and flames issuing from the top; an ore basket, wheelbarrow and a charcoal clamp.

    Notes: A pastiche of the 1636 original Lenard fireback (no. 429), now often mistaken for it; the inscription is missing, as are the fireback and the shield each being replaced by a form of cartouche; the figure of the man is more naturalistically modelled, yet wearing similar clothes; his feet face outwards.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: 1639

    Manufactured: in the 18th century possibly in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Rottingdean Grange, Rottingdean, East Sussex, England.

    (part of the Rottingdean Preservation Society museum group)

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2010, British Cast-Iron Firebacks of the 16th to Mid-18th Centuries (Crawley, Hodgers Books).